Using Google Latitude is and should be a personal thing – only to be used with people you trust. I use Latitude with my friends and make sure to only confirm close friends. However, recently I met a woman that works in marketing for a health organization. She told me about how her company uses Google Latitude for business tasks. In case you're not familiar, Google Latitude shows your location to your selected contacts via your mobile device's GPS.
In the marketing and sales field, this woman travels frequently and has a number of responsibilities she juggles. Using Latitude allows her boss to see her location and share tasks according to her location. Grouping errands is always a good thing, especially when it's a part of your job! Not only does this allow the business to cut costs of back-and-forth trips, but helps this marketing coordinator get her job done – faster.
For sales people and other employees on-the-go throughout the day, using Latitude allows management to delegate tasks, depending on location of their employees. Especially if multiple employees are on the road, tracking their location increases productivity and efficiency of the business. Although there are other applications and services that allow management to implement tracking of their employees – Google Latitude is a tool that's easy to use, and free.
What shocked me most was that a business owner saw the opportunity in a product – mostly used for personal friendships – and took it to new levels for the business. Not only is transparency a theme with social media jobs, but here, it gives employers a portal to see where their employees are at any time.
This whole concept reminds me of an app that will alert you when you're near one of your errands. Keep forgetting to run to the pharmacy? This app will alert you when you're near one. For android folks out there – ListPlus will do the job and for iPhone users there's Errand Alert.
Since there are applications that will let you know when you're near one of your errands, do companies really need to be asking employees to share their location 24/7? Of course there are tasks that arise in the middle of the day while employees are already out, so the errand alert type applications wouldn't do the trick. Using Google Latitude could add in the ability for those back at the office to survey which employee is closest to the desired location. Then the task could be assigned to that one person without sending a frenzied email – "Who is closest to _____ location?"
Will GPS enabled apps end up being another staple of all businesses – like email? Would you consider sharing your location with your boss or employees? If you already are Foursquare friends with your boss or employees you aren't really that far away. Let me know what you think.